Is Jurassic World a perfect movie? Not by a long shot but I haven’t had that much fun in a movie theater since I saw….uhhhh….OK, Mad Max: Fury Road last month. I loved every totally ridiculous fan-servicing second of this film (expect for one incredibly cruel death scene that made absolutely no sense).
[Don’t read the rest of this post if you haven’t seen JW and/or care about spoilers. Yes, I’m about to write several hundred words about a dinosaur movie.]
1. This is the film that The Lost World should have been and the payoff I’ve been waiting to witness since I read Jurassic Park back in the eighth grade. It offers a fully functioning theme park filled with 22K thousand tourists for the dinos to tear to pieces instead of a handful of scientists and hunters. It presents a “what would happen if Disney World contained living dinos and everything went to hell in a single day” scenario that was amazingly fun to watch on screen. I started laughing like a loon when the petradons tear apart the park’s Main Street. The shot of an overly ambitious one trying to cart off a baby triceratops from the petting zoo was great. I just wish there had been further bits featuring them running amok in the gift shops and the Margaritaville.
2. Anybody who knows is aware that I’m completely fascinated by theme parks and the film offers so many great little barbs about the industry. The horrible celeb in-ride instructional videos (great to see Jimmy Fallon show up in one during the “hamster ball” scene), the indifferent/bored/underpaid teenagers given too much responsibility on the rides, the cynical corporate tie-ins all over the place, etc.
3. A lot of critics called this movie “dumb.” Yes, JW has contains ridiculous moments and dialogue but I was surprised how much it had to say about everything from the military to science to work culture to clueless playboy billionaires. In many ways, it’s a smarter film than the original JP in the sense that it takes aim at so many worthy targets. If you think that weaponizing raptors is ridiculous, well, I wouldn’t put it past some misguided military goon to try something like that. Furthermore, if you consider that goofy, you should hear which direction Universal wanted to take the franchise in back during the early ’00s (human/dino super soldiers fighting drug lord in South America. Yep.). I seriously fell for the film’s ruse that using the raptors to hunt down the mega dino was going to turn out to be a good idea. When those little bastards start communicating with it and turn on their supposed human compatriots? That was fantastic!
4. The throwbacks (outlined in the video below) haven’t been taken well. I thought they were great. The kids entering the old visitors center, burning the “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” sign for heat and taking off in Hammond’s old jeep? RAD! You can write this off as “awful fan service” but I thought it was cool, especially the raptor becoming totally confused by the Dilophosaurus hologram.
5. And that final battle? Pure cinematic entertainment. It’s no “T-Rex terrorizing Tim and Lex” but c’mon! Claire running off to the pen, which obviously houses the same t-rex from the first film and then luring it out with a flare? Ever single moment of that scene up until the Indominus Rex finally gets dragged off into the water is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! Especially the bit where the t-rex turns and stomps off like a grizzled old character played by Clint Eastwood. She seemed to be saying: “Ugh, stupid humans. If anybody needs me, I’ll be in my pen with a goat and a bottle of whiskey.”
6. Now all that said, we don’t need another Jurassic Park movie but we’re probably going to get at least five more since this one is well on its way to becoming the highest grossing film of all time. With that said, here’s what I wish had happened during a post credits stinger:
The t-rex, having completed its majestic roar on the heli-pad, heads down to the command center where a bunch of raptors are waiting. She stomps in, tries to crack her knuckles but can’t because she has tiny arms. After a beat, she announces in dino-speak “OK, girls! The park is ours now! First order of business: we’ve gotta get the Margaritaville up and running again! LET’S MAKE SOME MONEY! GOATS AND WHISKEY FOR EVERYBODY!”
Thus the door is opened for a sequel about a Jurassic Park owned/operated by dinos, which would be much more entertaining that whatever garbage is probably in store for JW 2.